Legendary Italian goalkeeper Gigi Buffon named Ibrox in the top three stadiums he ever played in.

The PSG goalkeeper named the Rangers ground alongside Liverpool’s Anfield and Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.

It’s high praise indeed from the keeper who’s played at some of the biggest grounds in Europe in a glittering career. Gigi Buffon visited Ibrox two seasons on the bounce in 1998 and 1999 when he was playing for Parma.

25 Aug 1999: Gianluigi Buffon of Parma and Michael Mols of Rangers in action during the Champions” League, Third Round, Second Leg match between Parma and Rangers at Ennio Tardini Stadium, Parma, Italy. Parma won the game 1-0, but Rangers progressed winning with a 2-1 aggregate score. Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport

“I had trouble concentrating”

It was an iconic night both times Buffon visited Ibrox with Parma. In the UEFA Cup third round in 1998, Rangers forced a 1-1 draw. The following year Rangers beat them 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League Qualifier. A 1-0 Parma win in the return leg meant Rangers progressed.

That team sported a whole host of superstars. Including Buffon, Parma had Lillian Thuram, Ariel Ortega and Hernan Crespo in their squad.

But the Rangers fans still played a pivotal role in the first leg, where World Cup winner Buffon said he lost concentration.

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Gianluigi Buffon won the World Cup with Italy in 2006. (Photo by Eddy LEMAISTRE/Corbis via Getty Images)

Speaking to Football Italia about the Stadiums he said:

“There are a lot of them. Definitely Anfield in Liverpool. That was one of the few stadiums – along with Rangers in Glasgow and Fenerbahce in Istanbul – where there was such commotion for the first 15-20 minutes that I had trouble concentrating.”

 

Is old bite coming back to Ibrox?

That same intensity from the supporters that Buffon remembers has been missing from Ibrox as long as European football has been.

But with the return of the Europa League this year Ibrox has been blessed with some big nights this season alone. The fans have been rampant and the ground has been vibrating from the off.

Ibrox is a special place on big European nights.

Like Buffon, any player who visits it is unlikely to forget it.

 

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